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efms Migration Report

May 1996

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Prospects for briefer asylum proceedings

The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFI) in Nürnberg estimates that the average duration of asylum proceedings, at present eight to twelve weeks, will be reduced by half when the backlog of 60,000 undecided cases has been eliminated. The dropoff in asylum petitions will lead to the closing of five branches of the agency. The agency intends to employ only 2,500 of the current 3,400 employees in its 40 branches by the end of the year.
dpa 1.5.96

Delay in repatriation of Bosnian refugees

At the Interior Minister Conference on May 3, 1996, the ministers of the interior indicated that they will not insist on beginning repatriation of Bosnian war refugees on July 1, 1996 as previously decided. The ministers have declared that forced repatriation cannot be carried out because of the instability of the present political situation in Bosnia. Their decision was prompted by appeals from diverse refugee organisations, churches and by a foreign office report. No agreement has been reached on a new date to begin repatriation. Bayern, on the other hand, intends to begin deportations as planned, on July 1, 1996.
FAZ 4.5.96 // Spiegel 6.5.96 // SZ 9.5.96

Kinkel concludes repatriation agreement with Belgrade

During his visit to Belgrade Foreign Minister Kinkel (FDP) concluded a repatriation agreement with the Serbian government. The first to be repatriated by the end of 1997 will be the 120,000 rejected asylum seekers from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.The repatriation process for the remaining 320,000 refugees from the entire area of ex-Yugoslavia will be clarified at a later date. Kinkel is confident that economic considerations will ensure that Belgrad endeavours to fulfill the conditions of the agreement although up to now the government has refused entry to rejected asylum seekers. The repatriation plan has aroused fierce protests by refugee organizations because the majority of the refugees in question are Kosovo-Albanians, whose status in Serbia is insecure.
Welt 18.5.96 // NN 18.5.96

Constitutional court upholds new asylum law

On May 14, 1996, five months after hearings were concluded, the Constitutional Court of Karlsruhe declares the constitutionality of the asylum compromise of 1993, dismissing the appeal lodged by five refugees as unfounded. The three controversial elements of the agreement - safe third countries, safe countries of origin, and airport proceedings - were confirmed as constitutional. The judges set down certain conditions for enforcement: Safe third countries must be members of the Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights and must not deport refugees to a persecuting state. In determining which countries of origin are safe, lawmakers are to conscientiously examine local conditions and their decisions may be reviewed by the constitutional court. The enforcement of the airport regulation has come under fire because authorities are not required to provide justification for their decisions and because the deadline for submitting an appeal to the administrative court after receiving a rejected petition is too brief.
SZ 15.5.96 // FR 15.5.96

FDP calls for regulating immigration

The FDP feels that the Karlsruhe court ruling on the asylum compromise opens up new possiblities to negotiate a comprehensive concept for regulating immigration. The FDP calls on CDU/CSU members to revise their position on immigration policies and demands concrete measures, such as quotas, to limit immigration and to promote systematic integration. Foreign Minister Kinkel (FDP) is in favor of an immigration law which would be linked to improved prospects for naturalization.
dpa 16.5.96 // FAZ 18.5.96 // FR 18.5.96 // SZ 18.5.96 // Welt 28.5.96

Dispute between Bonn and Vietnam on repatriation agreement

After a series of murders in Vietnamese cigarette-dealer circles, the federal government intends to increase pressure on Vietnam to speed up the repatriation of the 40,000 Vietnamese living in Germany. The German government accuses the Vietnamese of not adhering to the agreement signed by both countries, according to which 2,500 persons should have been deported last year, and another 5,000 repatriated this year. Vietnam angrily dismisses charges that it is blocking entry of these refugees by conducting lengthy bureaucratic screening. The conflict between Vietnam and Germany heightens as a result of Interior Minister Kanther"s warning to Hanoi to comply with the agreement, and demands by the Commissioner for Foreigners, Schmalz-Jacobsen, to discontinue development aid in order to put pressure on Vietnam.
SZ 15.5.96 // SZ 18.5.96 // FR 18.5.96 // FR 23.5.96 // FR 24.5.96 // SZ 28.5.96

Turkish government calls for integration of Turks in Germany

During his visit to Germany the Turkish prime minister, Yilmaz, underlined the importance of increasing efforts to integrate the over two million Turks living in Germany. Yilmaz is in favor of allowing double citizenship, and giving Turks a greater say in political matters. He also criticized professional and social discrimination of Turks in Germany. Yilmaz pledged that Turkey will send kindergarden staff and clergymen, ease customs restrictions and allow the postal vote for Turks residing abroad. A new law would entitle Turks living abroad to claim an inheritance in Turkey even when they have given up their Turkish citizenship.
SZ 20.5.96 // Welt 20.5.96

Promoting young foreign academics

Federal Minister of Education Rüttgers (CDU) and Foreign Minister Kinkel (FDP) have presented a list of measures designed to make German institutes of higher education more attractive for foreign students and scholars. The number of foreign students in Germany is barely 130,000. Both ministers criticize the German embassies for making it so difficult for applicants to German universities to receive visas. The training of young academics is to be promoted by a network of cooperation between German and foreign universitites, and by special courses of studies for foreign students.
NZ 25.5.96

Language tests for ethnic German immigrants

In the future, ethnic Germans (Aussiedler) wishing to emigrate from Eastern Europe or the CIS states will have to demonstrate good knowledge of German in order to expedite their applications for permission to immigrate. The German government plans to send language examiners to the former Soviet Union.
Spiegel 27.5.96

Transit without visa for Bosnian refugees

Federal Minister of the Interior Kanther and his Croatian, Austrian and Swiss counterparts have signed an agreement "allowing transit journey and transportation of refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina" which will allow refugees living in Germany to visit their native country. The agreement, which comes into effect on July 1, 1996, is a first step in regulating the voluntary return of refugees to their home country. In the future the agreement will oblige the contract partners to cooperate in forced transportation of Bosnians.
FAZ 30.5.96

Statistics: Continued decline in ethnic German immigration

In the first five months of this year the number of newly immigrated Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants) was 68,282 which is 8,168 fewer than in the same period last year. In May 1996 alone, 14,065 Aussiedler were registered, whereas in May 1995 there were 14,810 persons. The number of immigration petitions has sunk since the beginning of the year to 82,784 which is 14,862 fewer than in the same period in 1995.
SZ 1.6.96

Statistics: Violence against foreigners

According to information released by the National Bureau for Criminality, 152 cases of right-wing criminal acts against foreigners were registered in May. The offences included two arson attacks, 29 cases of assault and battery and 121 "other" actions including damage to property and slander. 28 persons were injured. In comparison to the previous months the number of registered cases dropped slightly from 161 right-wing attacks in April, 172 in March, and 141 in February.
dpa 16.7.96

Asylum statistics

In May 1996 the Federal Office in Nürnberg registered 9,334 petitions for asylum, which is a reduction of 1.3% in comparison to April (9,458 persons). Since the beginning of 1996 a total of 48,950 applications were made. In the same period of the previous year the number was 49,640, or 690 more applications. Most of the refugees were from Turkey (2,046), followed by Serbia / Montenegro (1,660), Irak (693), Afghanistan (541) and Iran (337). The acceptance rate of the proceedings terminated in May was 7.1% (1,035 Persons); another 4.8% (710 persons) were granted protection from deportation.
NZ 5.6.96 // BAFl Press Announcement 5.6.96

May 1996

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